Monday, November 26, 2012

Adapt, Hibernate & Migrate

Over the last couple weeks we continued to talk about Bears and how they hibernate. We also talked about some animals that do not sleep during the winter; they adapt. The class also looked at birds that migrate such as geese and hummingbirds. 

For craft we made our own bear faces to play in the bear cave before it is transitioned for the next topic. The children were extremely creative with recycled materials making wonderful bear faces.

The children also took lots of time during play to “feed our bear.” They cut out books from old scholastic orders, and were allowed to cut as much or as little as they wanted to feed the bear. This open ended exposure lets the children who are still learning to cut, one to one teacher time to master the hand placements and motions, and didn’t have the stress of assuring they cut specifically as directed. It also offered our advancing cutters the personal direction to cut around each book and feed it to the bear.

We read one of my favorite bear books, The little mouse, the red ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR by Don & Audrey Wood. I love how much fun it is to read this book. We also read The Mitten which has many animals that hibernate as well as adapt. I am very excited to go back to class this week to ask the children who they remember from the story and act it out.
Acting is harder at the preschool age, as children have a tough time remembering lines sometimes. It is encouraged though, to create confidence in front of crowds and peers, being the ability to public speak, avoid fears down the road to speak up for themselves, as well as introduce children to acting and fine arts.

Lastly, we talked about how we as humans adapt to the change in the season. In Edmonton our environment gets VERY cold and we need to begin to bundle up from the snow. The children used their fine motor skills to manipulate tiny puzzle pieces to be painted with white paint. We will be transforming them into snow flakes to decorate our class room. 

We sang the "snowy pokey" - which is exactly like the hokey pokey except we talked about what outside accessory would go on our body part before we put it in the middle, such as "you put your toque in, you take your toque out ..." During this experience I took the time to point out which hand is left and which is right to practice dominate hand discrimination. We also practiced our left and right with a "Handwriting without Tears" song - the Hello song; in which the children offer their right hand to their peers and shake one another hand. For this activity I offered a sticker or stamp on the right hand to remind them which hand they're using. We will do more of this to support our classroom knowing left from right.

Our roster adult braved the cold and brought snow into the classroom as our sensory experience with scissors and cups. The children had the option to wear mittens since even in our warm cozy classroom that snow sure is cold! We observed the transformation of snow turning from snow to water.

Ms Asha

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Poppies Blow

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marks a very important date in Canada; Remembrance Day. We took time on November 7th and November 8th to talk amongst the class about what Remembrance Day is and why we celebrate it.

I spent some time online researching support on how to talk to children about war, death, soldiers and Remembrance Day, but found very little. Instead I spent time reflecting and thinking about what I knew about 3 and 4 year olds and realized, I knew how to explain Remembrance Day in an age appropriate way. It's important to have analogies and examples ready that they have lived through. I had to reflect about the important parts of War and Rememberance Day and I believe that letting the children know that soldiers did it to keep us safe and let us have freedom was something they would very much understand. I mentioned that some didn't make it but I tried to be very detailed on the sacrifices they made and the reason they did it.

Some things I told the children were:

·         Fighting is not okay
·         People sometimes do need to fight to keep their community safe. If someone is trying to hurt other people, special people called soldiers, fight to keep their home safe. People don’t want to fight, they want to keep the peace  and all get along but other people will not let them.
Example: when you see a friend being picked on by someone, so you tell them its not okay, and they begin picking on you too. So you go and get a teacher, soldiers are like teachers, they help to keep you safe.
·         People who have special permission to fight
o   Knights – in stories
o   Police officers
o   Soldiers
·         November 11th we take time to think about and remember the soldiers who sadly, didn’t get to come home from fighting because they died. We also thank the soldiers who did come home to their families! We thank all the soldiers who did their jobs to keep us safe so we can play and be happy.
I then asked the children if they knew what peace was. Our T/Th class didn’t know any examples so I told them what the M/W friends had shared because their examples were amazing:

I expanded it, telling the children being peaceful is when we are nice to people, polite and kind.
We also spent time talking about what we need to make poppies grow. The children told me we need soil, water, sunshine and a seed. I reminded them that people often put these seeds in gardens so that no one can harm the flowers, but during the war special flowers called Poppies, continued to grow even though people kept ruining and running and fighting all over the soil.

We read the book A Poppy is to Remember by Heather Patterson & Ron Lightburn which included a very famous, very special poem about Remembrance Day call In Flanders Field by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

After we did a poppy craft to bring home.
The children all wrote their name on the back, glued on the poem in Flanders Field, and made prints with pop bottles, cork, and sponges to create their own poppy field.

During this craft I also purposely only offered the children a set amount of props to do the craft. This forces the children to share the pieces. It offers them opportunities to tell the other children in their art group that they need a chance with a specific piece, and even gives them time to comment on one another’s crafts. At one point two girl were left at the art table sharing the sponge to press their leaves. Each girl would use the sponge so many times and then hand it to the other child. While the one girl was waiting for her turn with the sponge I heard her compliment the other girl’s poppies, which lead to a longer conversation.

Christian Notes:

On our poem for our craft we included the bible verse:

I thank God on every remembrance of you
Philippians 1:3

And before we made the poppy craft and left our circle, we bowed our head and prayed for all of our fallen soldiers during the war, and the soldiers who continue to fight for our freedom and safety.

Today, we remember all of the soldiers who fought and died for us.
We are blessed to be fortunate enough to have people who wanted us to be free.
Like Jesus, their sacrifice was offered for Freedom and Peace.
We pray for those who have given themselves willingly, those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
We pray for those who continue to place them selves in harms way to achieve peace & harmony.
May  their sacrifice not be in vain.


Ms Asha